Wednesday, November 4, 2009

MacKenzie Philips (in the flesh)

Looks like Australian TV finally decided to air the MacKenzie Phillips episode of Oprah.
It's so hard to watch, she's so vulnerable.
She's talking, and I can see now why people questioned the whole 'reveal.' Oprah is so straightforward and casual, and MacKenzie is holding her shit together, using actual words, which is admirable, but misleading.

Are people really so blind? Do they not realise that the only way to talk about painful or difficult things is to remove yourself, to just talk, use words. You're expected to break down, cry, shake, show emotion, but if you do that, you'll rip yourself apart, so you hold your shit together. Oprah, she's direct, and she's cool, and that speaks volumes of her own past experiences.

I see all this, and I see now how easy it was for so many people to interpret her situation the way they did, and it frustrates me, because people have so little empathy and that's not something that's easy to change.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Reason Behind It All

Last night I had the most horrific nightmare.

Too many films and articles and stories of rape, sex trafficking and forced prostitution seem to have seeped into my subconscious which decided to put me through horrors in my sleep I've never experienced in waking life.

When I woke up it hit me rather hard (I'm still feeling a little bruised) that this is exactly why so many women put up with anti-feminist sledging and the hassles of being the so-called 'fun police.'

Because this is the stuff at the heart of it all. All our theorizing, all our whining and weary explanations of why rape jokes aren't funny and sexist advertising is offensive - this, THIS is why we bother.

Because every day, in every country women* go through unimaginable ordeals, the stuff of nightmares, fear and pain worse than anything even my subconscious can conjure up, and the only way to stop it is to continue to get angry, to continue to be the fun police and continue to explain to people why rape jokes AREN'T FUNNY.

I really just wanted to express my ardent love and admiration for all the women who persevere in this quest, despite the unpleasant side effects.

And in particular these women (and a few men), who remind me of this quest every day:

Sady Doyle
Cara Kulwicki
Les Feministes
Melissa McEwan and the Shakers
The Harpys
The Evil Slut Clique

Love, chlamydia and hobbit feet my dears, xx.

*Yes women. I know men are also victims of sex-related crimes but I'm a little bit tired of being politically correct about including them when as a whole they seem to remain frustratingly unsympathetic towards humanist ideals. The fact remains that women form the majority of the abused, and men form the majority of the abusers, for goodness sake accept it, and instead of arguing over the unfairness of generalizations, how 'bout you do something to change it.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

This Crazy Notion of Mine

I've had this notion for quite some time now, and its lately been compounded by two events; discovering (via The Curvature) this blog on disability and reading this post on life before and after the personal discovery of feminism.

This notion, is that learning about feminism makes you a better person.
It very quickly came to my attention when I delved into the madness that is the feminist blogging culture, that feminists overwhelming tend to also be gay rights activists, race equality activists and heavily into equality for the disabled. Maybe it seems logical to you that minority causes would stick together like this but I really don't think that's the only reason, or even the main one and this is why:

My first encounter with feminism was with a rage-filled sister, newly introduced to feminist theory and culture through her gender studies class, hers was a fiery, Sheila Jeffreys inspired baptism. She earnestly related to me her new found ideals, pouring hard-line feminist vitriol all over my utterly ideal-less slate. I was studying a science degree and the culture I had spent two years at university assimilating was generally focused on beer. I rebelled. It was too much, too different, too challenging. I couldn't wrap my head around ideas so different from my socially constructed world in which I cared a lot more about what high heels cost than whether or not they were a tool of THE PATRIACHY. And whatever the cause, I simply could not embrace the decision to admit that I was wrong. Wrong in my ignorance, wrong in my acceptance, wrong in my perpetuation of THE PATRIACHY. But my sister persevered, and, in not such a long space of time, I came to see things the way she did. And once our initial the-world-is-an-evil-manland-and-i-must-change-everything-now passion subsided into a calmer understanding, THE PATRIACHY became just The Patriachy and we began to apply more practical codes of living to our ideals.*

But I seem to have wandered down the path of nostalgia - my point was that, "I simply could not embrace the decision to admit that I was wrong. Wrong in my ignorance, wrong in my acceptance, wrong in my perpetuation..."

Now, whenever I am faced with a scenario of racism, able-ism or any other 'ism', and I begin to think to myself, 'they are exaggerating', or, 'yes but they're different', or, 'but I don't do that, because I am open-minded and awesome', I recall this rebellion and realize that I am behaving the same way non-feminists do when they are frustrating the hell out of me. They are refusing to listen, leaning back on what they know, what is easy and what keeps things in order. They don't want to feel guilty, and they don't want to look so hard at a society that treats them so well.

Neither do I
and that is why I have to push myself, have to always second guess my initial reaction to these scenarios, why I educate myself as much as possible, why I try so hard to trust the claims of injustice from other groups in the way that I wish men (and women) would trust mine. And god do I get tired of it.

(It doesn't just extend to minority causes either, I find many feminists also involved in environmental movements, animal rights efforts, criminal politics, general human rights... it's not a coincidence, each cause brings new insight and understanding to the next. I was convinced of vegetarianism via feminist theory, go figure.)

There are so many things to be open-minded about, my mind just isn't big enough, I tell you, it won't all fit. When you include the unfairness and the sickening persecution at the hands of sexists, racists, able-ists and fuckwits, its overwhelming, and working to avoid being part of any of those groups is hard. Working to try and convince others to avoid it is even harder; its damn near impossible and so devastatingly frustrating that I barely see the point at all. But I have to keep at it, because as tiring as it may be, ideals are like heroin, and once you try it, even if it fucks up your life, its awfully hard to stop.

*I may have stopped screaming at someone every time they say something sexist, but my rage has barely cooled in that area, I'm just better at controlling it.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fame plus Time equals Amnesty

A friend of mine recently wrote (on facebook) about the Roman Polanski situation. In the briefest of terms the situation is this:

Roman Polanski (world renowned director) was charged and convicted of the rape of a 13yr old girl in the US in the 70's. He served 42 days before being fleeing the country prior to being sentenced. The defense presented the usual 'she consented' argument and Polanski pleaded guilty to statutory rape.

This friend, is generally very sympathetic to my feminist musings (and is also very intelligent and very pretty.) But this friend hesitates over the issue of consent, and the seriousness of statutory rape vs. rape. In particular she mentions -

The girl said at the time that she said "no" a few times, but other witnesses for Polanski indicate that she seemed willing and "all over him". I'm happy to assume she did say no but the fact is he was not convicted of rape so he cannot be sentenced as if he was. Furthermore it appears that he did believe she was of age, a belief encouraged by her mother.

She finds herself conflicted, as many do, over his responsibility in the crime and generally comes to the conclusion that he should receive a suspended sentence or probation. While I can definitely see how she has reached these conclusions, I whole-heartedly disagree with them.

In response:

First up, it's rape, regardless of consent etc., sex with a a minor is illegal, and minors, by law cannot consent to sex with an adult. Not knowing the age of the minor does not excuse you from the legal complications. All of this is without debate.

Second, in regards to consent - all of those things, that she was all over him, that she looked older, that her mother encouraged it, they are lines of defense tried and tested by men (and women) for decades and I'm sick of hearing them, if the circumstances of consent are shady, then the likelihood that she was not fully consenting is very high. If he was sticking his cock in her while she was hesitating about the situation but not kicking and screaming, she was not 'consenting' she was confused (and at 13 ,in the presence of a celebrity who she was in awe of - probably way out of her depth.)Consent is not the absence of vocal distress or physical resistance, it implies WILLINGNESS, not just a lack of objection. So it's rape, whether the issue of consent is less defined for you or not, it's still rape by law, at the very least, stat rape, which he was charged with and pleaded guilty to.

So what to do with him? I understand the fleeing, fuck, his life was about to be ruined, I'd have a shot at fleeing too (although how he thought he'd get away with it completely is beyond me.) I don't think it's necessary to further punish him for that, but then I don't really care either. It was 30 years ago? I don't care. 30 years ago he raped a 13 year old girl. Time doesn't make it go away, I don't think it should make a single bit of difference. The only deterrent I can see to forcing him to serve time is the calls from the girl that the whole thing be dropped. If anyone even remembers at this point - she's the one whose life has been fucked by this, not his. She's the victim and the one everyone is supposed to be trying to help, not the guy who abused her. Everyone deserves compassion, and he's not a serial rapist, nor does he seem particularly violent, but that doesn't change what he did - imagine if you or your 13yr old daughter was raped and the cunt that did it didn't have to serve time because, well, he was a pretty good guy generally and you know, it was all a mistake. Fuck off.

The only reason this is even an issue is because he's famous (and brilliant) - the same thing is happening with John MacKenzie currently (singer from The Mama's and Papa's who drugged and raped his daughter over a 10 year period) no-one wants to think badly of them because THEY are attached to their idea of these people as brilliant benevolent artists, they don't want to think badly of them because it makes them uncomfortable - how selfish is that? 'I'm sorry you were raped and abused, but look, I really like this song/film and I don't want to have to feel uncomfortable when I hear/see it, so we're just going to have to ignore your pain okay?'

Again, 13 yr old girl = VICTIM. Why is
there even discussion regarding Polanski as a person, it doesn't matter. It's blatant discrimination - you can be sure that if the rapist were black, Arab, poor or anything other than a white upper class male (or probably female) in an idealized industry there would be no discussion. Seriously, why is there even sympathy for Polanski? He raped a girl, where is the public sympathy for HER? At the very most he deserves compassion, but certainly not respect or public support.

So if we're looking at what's best for the victim - then maybe the charged should be dropped as that's what she seems to want? Perhaps. Or perhaps that sends completely the wrong message - do you really want to set precedent that says rape is sometimes okay, under the right circumstances? That says famous white men can get away with sex crimes? That says if you flee sentencing, time will erase your crime?

Maybe he's sorry, maybe he really is a great guy who made a mistake, maybe every circumstance
was in his favor, maybe he's tried to make amends. Is any or all of that worth the implications of letting him off?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

MacKenzie Philips....Sigh

After reading far too much on Mackenzie Phillips (especially this piece by Sady) I have this to add.

Are some people just missing the part of their brain chemistry that says, see that person, yes that person there, the one you sired, and cared for as a small child and supposedly still love and care for very much? Yes? You should NOT TOUCH THEM IN THE PANTS.

I understand that it’s difficult to shift your ideas about people you’ve felt a great affection for over the years (John Phillips) as a musician, and possibly as an ideal type of man. I get that you can be unwilling to give up the comfort that people gain from idealizing celebrities, when the real world seems so imperfect, so I don’t expect you to hate John Phillips for his actions, I don’t expect you to so easily change your feelings for him. What i expect you to do is admit that what he did was WRONG and rather MESSED-UP and that Mackenzie is a VICTIM in this situation who was ABUSED by one John Phillips. Whether you want to blame drugs, or mental illness, whether or not you can bear to hold him fully accountable in your mind, you must at least admit and accept that he abused her and it was wrong.

The idea that a daughter can consent to sexual relations with her father is so absurd I don’t know how it’s even considered. It’s such a complex dynamic in terms of power, responsibility, love and sexuality that my mind boggles at the very idea of it.

Consent implies willingness, not just a lack of objection. How this concept continues to escape people is beyond me.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Soy Is Making Your Kids Gay - THE HORROR!

John Rutz' Article in bold, interspersed with rant.

There's a slow poison out there that's severely damaging our children and threatening to tear apart our culture. The ironic part is, it's a "health food," one of our most popular.

That's not alarmist at ALL.

Now, I'm a health-food guy, a fanatic who seldom allows anything into his kitchen unless it's organic. I state my bias here just so you'll know I'm not anti-health food.

Sure. You're also an arrogant dick who uses the sub-heading "Exclusive Commentary" to title his tiny insignificant corner of the blogosphere.* I state my bias here just so you know I'm anti-arrogant dick.

The dangerous food I'm speaking of is soy. Soybean products are feminizing, and they're all over the place. You can hardly escape them anymore.

Yep, it's virtually IMPOSSIBLE to avoid products containing soy. I couldn't be arsed looking up reliable statistics so I just went to the supermarket, and REMARKABLY managed to fill a trolley with completely soy-free products. Even products free from the friendly forms Rutz' lists later in this articulate and informative prose.

I have nothing against an occasional soy snack. Soy is nutritious and contains lots of good things. Unfortunately, when you eat or drink a lot of soy stuff, you're also getting substantial quantities of estrogens.


Estrogens are female hormones. If you're a woman, you're flooding your system with a substance it can't handle in surplus.

INCORRECT, the female (and male) body has many ways of dealing with excess estrogen, and unsurprisingly, excess nearly everything.

If you're a man, you're suppressing your masculinity and stimulating your "female side," physically and mentally.

And I hate to be repetitive but

If you will, please envisage the scientist in me shrivel and die while the feminist bit of me simultaneously explodes in a shower of flesh bleeding flesh and righteous anger.

In fetal development, the default is being female.


All humans (even in old age) tend toward femininity. The main thing that keeps men from diverging into the female pattern is testosterone, and testosterone is suppressed by an excess of estrogen.

We're wavering from the path of 'correct' here, but sure.

If you're a grownup, you're already developed, and you're able to fight off some of the damaging effects of soy. Babies aren't so fortunate. Research is now showing that when you feed your baby soy formula, you're giving him or her the equivalent of five birth control pills a day. A baby's endocrine system just can't cope with that kind of massive assault, so some damage is inevitable. At the extreme, the damage can be fatal.

The correlation between the amounts of estrogen in birth control pills and soy is.........nowhere near that. not even close. Not even when calculated in the tiny, wizened mind of Rutz.
Also, birth control pills are not just pure estrogen. Nor does soy contain pure estrogen, or even estrogen. It's genistein, a phytoestrogen, which are produced by plants and mimic the action of estrogens at the body's estrogen receptors.

Shit, you mean that my hyperbolic claims are so badly researched and just completely fucking wrong that I couldn't even get the SUBJECT of my contention RIGHT? WHAT KIND OF IMBECILE AM I?

Soy is feminizing, and commonly leads to a decrease in the size of the penis, sexual confusion and homosexuality.

If you would be so kind as to re-envisage the explosion of my poor, already fragmented, theoretical body.

That's why most of the medical (not socio-spiritual) blame for today's rise in homosexuality must fall upon the rise in soy formula and other soy products.

Whose blame? Did you say 'medical' blame? Oh, that must be the one, single, medical source you cited in your article. No? Not even one?

(Most babies are bottle-fed during some part of their infancy, and one-fourth of them are getting soy milk!) Homosexuals often argue that their homosexuality is inborn because "I can't remember a time when I wasn't homosexual." No, homosexuality is always deviant. But now many of them can truthfully say that they can't remember a time when excess estrogen wasn't influencing them.

I don't have anything left to detonate, and so you may just weep quietly over the charred remains of my flesh.

Doctors used to hope soy would reduce hot flashes, prevent cancer and heart disease, and save millions in the Third World from starvation. That was before they knew much about long-term soy use. Now we know it's a classic example of a cure that's worse than the disease. For example, if your baby gets colic from cow's milk, do you switch him to soy milk? Don't even think about it. His phytoestrogen level will jump to 20 times normal. If he is a she, brace yourself for watching her reach menarche as young as seven, robbing her of years of childhood. If he is a boy, it's far worse: He may not reach puberty till much later than normal.

Oh look, he subtly and without explanation changed from the terminology of 'estrogen' to 'phytoestrogen.'
And you're right, it'd be far, far worse for a boy to develop later than a girl to develop earlier. That's an easy, uncomplicated, non-culture specific generalization to make.

Research in 2000 showed that a soy-based diet at any age can lead to a weak thyroid, which commonly produces heart problems and excess fat. Could this explain the dramatic increase in obesity today?

Yep. Today's obese western society can be solely attributed to the rise of soy-based products. It has nothing to do with poor education, fast food conglomerates or sedentary culture. It is definitely those following a soy-based diet that are contributing to the vast numbers of the obese in America, It's tofu, not frozen dinners that can be held responsible. Fucking hippies.

Recent research on rats shows testicular atrophy, infertility and uterus hypertrophy (enlargement). This helps explain the infertility epidemic and the sudden growth in fertility clinics. But alas, by the time a soy-damaged infant has grown to adulthood and wants to marry, it's too late to get fixed by a fertility clinic.

Worse, there's now scientific evidence that estrogen ingredients in soy products may be boosting the rapidly rising incidence of leukemia in children. In the latest year we have numbers for, new cases in the U.S. jumped 27 percent. In one year!

There's also a serious connection between soy and cancer in adults – especially breast cancer. That's why the governments of Israel, the UK, France and New Zealand are already cracking down hard on soy.

In sad contrast, 60 percent of the refined foods in U.S. supermarkets now contain soy. Worse, soy use may double in the next few years because (last I heard) the out-of-touch medicrats in the FDA hierarchy are considering allowing manufacturers of cereal, energy bars, fake milk, fake yogurt, etc., to claim that "soy prevents cancer." It doesn't.


And now we're talking about 'estrogen ingredients' whatever they are.

Leukemia and Estrogen are linked you say?
I took the liberty of asking Google:
Apparently they are - Oh wait, they're linked, but not as cause and effect. See for yourself. (An actual reference? OUTRAGEOUS.)

New Zealand is cracking down on Soy? Well THANK GOODNESS, we shall all be saved from the tofu-loving cancer weasels.

I am so glad that we have you John Rutz, to alert us to the FDA's conspiracy to give us all cancer, and provide us with such a well-researched expert contradiction to their naive contentions. "It doesn't." What a closer.

P.S.: Soy sauce is fine. Unlike soy milk, it's perfectly safe because it's fermented, which changes its molecular structure. Miso, natto and tempeh are also OK, but avoid tofu.

Glad we cleared that up.

If you google anything you will find conspiracy theories and fan sites.

I read a thoroughly non-comprehensive 18-20 articles about the 'dangers of soy' to decide if this guy was completely wrong as well as a douchebag, and I come to the following conclusion - sans references in keeping with Rutz' style:

Soy, like EVERY OTHER FOODSTUFF CONTAINING ANY FORM OF NUTRIENT, is bad for you in high quantities.

So don't eat 700g of pure soy product per day. Because that's about the level you need for it to do anything negative to you body, which in fact, will not be to FEMINIZE YOU.

I actually found more articles claiming that because geinstein acts on estrogen receptors, it prevents the uptake of human estrogen and in fact has the complete opposite effect. This may or may not be correct, but it makes a bit of sense.

And in my extreme medical wisdom I'd like to declare that even ingesting 7kg of tofu per day WONT MAKE YOU GAY.

*I just used the word blogosphere, shoot me.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bush's Legacy of Fear

Crazy Tracy writes on life, the week Bush was re-elected for a second term.

I read this not long ago and was simultaneously saddened by the tragedy that was Bush's reign and hopeful of a future that begins with Obama.

In Aus, a little removed from the political climate of the US and the hype that surrounded Obama in the lead up to his election, I felt that really, it was a bit of an over-reaction. He's not perfect, he's still fairly conservative by most standards and well, I just couldn't get ecstatic about him. But when I read this, it really hit me - the wonderful change that he represents, the step forward Americans took when they voted for him, what his election means to so many people - those downtrodden, ignored and persecuted by Bush.

January 20, 2005


I joined that little "not one thin dime" Internet movement--the one where you protest the exorbitant cost of The Shrub's inauguration by not spending any money today. I've also had to ban TV because it seems every station in the free world feels it necessary to air every little fucking detail of this ass-lickin' prick's swearing in. It's true...I find it nearly impossible to be objective when it comes to this mother fucker. If he had any fucking class at all, he'd refuse to accept donations for parties and parades and balls (too bad he can't buy a set for himself) out of respect for our soldiers fighting and dying in Iraq. He'd not be so goddamned entitled and smug. He'd not blatantly disregard the humility so needed right now.

But he has no class...sans one. His. Right wing, God fearing, rich Christian white people.

I'm still so disillusioned with my country. Never before in my life have I felt so disenfranchised. Never before have I felt so like an orphan. There is no place in this country for me. There is no gentle, parental leader watching over me. There is no feeling of security or safety or acceptance. I constantly feel as if I'm about to be uprooted and sent to foster care, that my family will be torn apart, that my religion will be attacked, that my very livelihood will be threatened and destroyed. Gay, female, unmarried, outcast, a step-child tolerated because my existence is a reality that people must deal with, not because they want to, but because they have to.

I used to feel that it would be impossible to be sent away, to be corralled and cordoned off from society. I used to feel that what happened under Hitler's regime could NEVER, EVER, EVER happen here. I don't feel that way anymore. I feel scared. I feel exposed. I feel vulnerable. I have been engulfed of late with a feeling of absolute global disconnection. This is new to me on such a level. I have battled all my life with the feeling of separateness...on an intimate, personal scale (with my family, friends, partner). It is a feeling that I am just now getting adept at dealing with. But this thing...this large and looming fear of my country and the people who run it...well, it is sometimes enough to make me fear for my life. It may be dramatic, but so was the Holocaust. It was true nevertheless.

It used to be impossible to imagine, even when I considered that it had happened before, that they could one day come for me, take all my things, send my child away, strip me of my identity and crucify me for being who I am....but it's not hard to imagine anymore. As America becomes more and more fanatically religious, I become more and more of a threat to Her. I become the interloper, the thief, the rapist and the whore. I am the Jew. And George W. Bush, Jr and his regime are the SS.

Something so incredibly hard to believe is often not believed. They thought that about the Nazi Death Camps. "It's impossible! Who would allow that to happen? Who could do that? Why would the entire country go along with something like that? Somebody would stop it!" But it wasn't impossible. It was allowed to happen. Ordinary men did those things. And nobody stopped them for a very, very long time. Because we couldn't believe it was happening.

I would've believed it. I've seen evil. I've seen it fester and spawn. I've seen it move in casual ways through ordinary circles. The Shrub is always talking about "evil doers." He wants to find them. He wants to rid the world of their pestilence. All he really need do is look into the mirror.

I, for one, will not look at his face today. I cannot bear the smile. I cannot bear the cockiness. I cannot abide watching. I'll be in my room, in the corner, curled up in a fetal position with my hands over my eyes.